Tag Archives: arunachal pradesh

Be like Apong.

We all see the world differently. A foodie remembers places based on how excited his tongue felt there. A history buff remembers places depending on its importance in the scheme of politics and civilization in the past. A visual artist remembers the colors of the streets, sun rise, sun sets, patterns and textures peculiar to a place.

Then there are beer lovers. They hardly remember anything, if at all. Their memory is patchy, filled with missing hours and events. Those missing events are generally way too embarrassing to be enquired about. They get excited by availability of cheap beer.

Just like each country has its own flag. Each region has its own cuisine. There is beer, which also defines the existence of a particular community.

Ziro, in Arunachal pradesh, India, is no different.

Their answer to the world of local beer is called, lo and behold, “Apong”

Apong is beer made from rice. It has short shelf life. It is made in almost every home. It is available as cheap Rs. 20 for one liter. It’s the drink of the masses.

Apong comes in various forms, depending on its  distillation and taste. The more expensive it gets, the more refined it is, and begins to look clearer, like wine and tastes sweeter.

Rice beer is not only a drink but an integral part of north eastern tribe culture. It is made by women mostly, and acts as an accepted ice breaker between men and women of the community. It is also a part of the marriage customs. Some also believe it to have medicinal properties.

Here is a quick run through on the process of Apong making.

  1. You need a starter ‘cake’. It is a collection of rice or other grains which is fermented to produce beer.
  2. Grains are ground with little water and then dried to make the cake.
  3. Then they are kept in an earthen pot.
  4. Then the ‘secret medicine’ or yeast is added to initiate fermentation and the earthen pot is closed.
  5. After 5 days water is filtered through the fermented cake, and what we get below is pure ‘Apong’
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Apaptani household woman preparing Apong.

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Apong collects in the white vessel underneath.

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Apong is traditionally served in bamboo glasses. Pic from google search.

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Beautiful Apatani house., where I learned about Apong.

cheers..!

 

 

 

Wandermates #3 – Happy encounter.

” A journey is measured in friends rather than miles” – Tim Cahill

This is an attempt to share all the interesting stories of people I’ve come across while on the road .

One at a time.

We often bump into  a lot of people everyday. Some interesting, some outright rude. Some cunning and some sweet as honey. Nevertheless, for a brief moment,  two lives intersect each other.

Generally while traveling we’re more receptive to strangers.

I like to chat with the locals and hear the tales of their  childhood. The fables of the land. The beliefs built by that human being over a lifetime.

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India sounds more violent and criminal on news channels than it really is. While I traveled to North East states of India, I realized that they are like any other states of the country. The people speak Hindi, are proud to call themselves Indians and expect a lot of positive support from the government.

As I met these army men, conversation invariably leads to actual situation of violence in the region. In Ziro, the army man said ” there is nothing more than mosquitoes to kill here at Ziro”. “Please when you go back to your metros, do spread the word that we in north east feel as much Indian as anyone of you and love our country proudly, the media be damned.”

That was quiet a revelation for me. And at such moments I feel the importance of leaving the confines of the news channel smothering you with sensational news for the advertisers and venture into the reality to see the world with your own eyes.

Mental note : 1. People from North East feel Indian and proudly so. 2. They are well aware of the current affairs in rest of the country. 3. They want more people to visit and discover North east India and realize that a violent and forgotten, backward and unsafe vision of north east is only a myth. 4. They love Bollywood.

 

Wandermates #5 – Gramlines

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Of the many things I liked about the Ziro music festival was that it was very relaxed and informal. The artists who performed on stage came down and joined the crowd, sharing drinks, chatting, enjoying other shows, being one like the audiences.

So on my way back, in the sleeper coach of my train, I found myself in good company of the Italian band called Gramlines. They had performed at the fest and had kept the audience in awe throughout the show. They play rock in an alternative/soft genre with good lyrics.Since I had the opportunity to talk to them, I was curious to know what would they do in everyday life. As audience, the general practice is to hold artist o a pedestal, and one never comes to know about them as a person. I find it intriguing.

To my surprise, theirs was not a full time band. They are a bunch of long time friends who came up with their own music, but still  are pursuing their education. So, one of them is a pharmacist. One is pursuing PhD. in Physics from Australia. Two of the members are students of philosophy. I was impressed to see that these guys were rooted firmly in the reality and not whimsically drifted to the lure of glamour and money.

It was also interesting to learn their understanding of what makes certain bands super successful and some die an unnoticed death under the shadows of popularity. They said that its mainly because to please the masses,  as a band, you generally have to deviate from your own style of music and become what is promoted to the population as ‘cool’. So, in return of money and fame, you might give away your creative freedom and emotion of the music.

You can checkout their Facebook page here  : https://www.facebook.com/GramlinesBand/?fref=ts

Have fun.

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